Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat healthy foods? While we don’t have kids of our own just yet, we know a lot of you do and we thought we’d share some tips for you to help your kids make healthier choices.
Image Source: http://thedailyeater.com/2010/09/food-homes-kids.html
Try giving healthier options a fun name. Instead of “carrots” opt for “x-ray vision carrots” this is something you can do for any healthy item, get creative and have fun with it!
Keep “junk” food out of the house. If your children (and you) are used to munching on healthier snacks vs. chips and candy at home you’ll all be more likely to choose healthier options outside of home as well. Eating healthy consistently will change your taste buds and you wont have the same “junk food” cravings.
Give them an option. At snack time ask your kids if they would rather have veggies with hummus or a fresh fruit smoothie. Giving them two healthy options to choose from makes them feel in control instead of as if you are “forcing” them to eat healthy foods.
Involve and educate them. Have them help you prepare meals and explain why you use certain ingredients instead of others. Explain to them how important it is to eat a balanced diet so that they can grow up and be whatever they want to be without worrying about being sick. Make it a fun nightly thing where they help you pack their lunch for school or help you cook dinner.
If they aren’t used to something, introduce it slowly. If you are just beginning to make the transition to eating healthier in your home don’t expect your family to instantly go from eating chips and drinking soda to munching on veggies and fresh juice. Slowly ease in the healthier options and quit buying the “junk” items.
Don’t pressure them. Don’t do things like make them sit and “take 5 bites”. Let them choose how much they eat but continue to make them healthy options. If you are forcing them to eat everything on their plate they are more likely to resist and think of healthy foods as “gross”.
Allow them to treat themselves but don’t make it a big deal. The old “if you get straight A’s I’ll buy you ice cream” thing needs to stop. Do not use unhealthy items as a reward. In fact, we recommend not using food as a reward at all. There are many other things you can do to encourage your kids.
Be their role model. Practice what you preach! You can’t expect them to make healthy choices if you aren’t also making them.